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Polish Village Music In New Waverly Texas

by Brian Marshall on May 24, 2012

in Culture, Musicians

Polish Village Music In New Waverly TexasSome many years ago Todd Buckner (Bochnia) informed me that he had a video from the 50’s of a 50th wedding anniversary in New Waverly, TX. It took some time but eventually we hooked up and he let me borrow the tape in question and I discovered that what he actually had was an audio recording duplicating exactly what had been played at a wedding reception in the early 1900’s.



It is the only recording of its kind as it is village music being performed by immigrants who left the village to come to the United States. What it reveals is a glimpse into the past…the music of our grandparents and great grandparents…before there was such a thing as pop culture…one can close their eyes and put themselves back into time and realize how different things must have been..these recordings represent the very heart of the people who play it…..something completely lacking in modern music. Today’s music has cornered itself into a sappy or drunken drug laced lyric…these recordings have no lyrics…today’s music must have an established chord and rhythm pattern….no such thing exists in this music……the fiddler plays the melody the way he “ feels” it…the bass is nothing more than a drone that creates rhythm and is played the way he “feels” it.

While these musicians are certainly not the most technical and the recording is not anywhere close to modern standards the freedom expressed here is beyond anything found in modern times in modern “pop”. I have always been intrigued by folk music since it comes from a select place in the culture of a people without the influence of a dominant theme that thrives on profit. I assure you, this recording is a treasure…but most of you are going to write it off as unskilled noise. It will be foreign, strange, or even abusive to the ear but I ask that you try to remember it is not because it is bad music…instead it is music that your ear is not trained to understand. While most of you are going to hate this audio it is my contention that this is perhaps the first REAL music most modern people have heard. Think of it like a foreign language…Ex: Danish can be very harsh to the ear for those who do not understand..For native speakers however it is the most beautiful language in the world!

For those of you who can make some sense of what I’m getting at here..ENJOY! Po Staremu!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Editors Notes:

This audio was recorded at the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Stash and Josephine Skoba. Stash Skoba or Stanislaus Skałba was a first generation American born in Bremond, Texas on February 7, 1885. His parents, Stefan Skałba and Wiktoria Kloc Skałba immigrated to the US in 1881 from the very small village of Gawrzyłowa in the Galicia area of Southeast Poland, just south of the larger town of Dębica.

Stash’s wife Józefa Bochnia was also a first generation American born in New Waverly, Texas on November 26, 1887. Her father, Wawrzyniec Bochnia immigrated to the US in 1874 from the small town of Biecz in the Carpathian Mountains area of Southeast Poland. Her mother, Katarzyna Zabawa Bochnia immigrated to the US in 1878 from the small village of Jasło in Southeast Poland.

The musicians Lige Buckner, Peter Belinowski and Leon Tefelski who played at the anniversary celebration also have similar backgrounds.

 

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